“You have to meet people where they are for any conversation to be meaningful.” – Rev. Dr. Danielle Tumminio Hansen
I am a fan of Harry Potter. I like him of course, but even more I like the whole world that J.K. Rowling created! The series of books helps us to imagine how lives and relationships and choices and love and loss work! They give us touch points for connection and conversation in the muggle world.
This month Three Minute Ministry Mentor features conversations with Rev. Dr. Danielle Tumminio Hansen. She is a friend and she has, among other things, written a book called God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom.
Danielle teaches at Seminary of the Southwest and guides students in pastoral theology as well as field education. This month she will be talking with us about a variety of topics that impact the practice of ministry. Watch our first conversation, and meet Danielle. Think with us about how the Harry Potter series impacts your practice of ministry!
Then tell us: how Harry has helped you?!
Recently, I asked my friends on social media, “How has Harry helped you?” They responded with so many great stories and experiences. It stirred up some fun conversation. Here are some ways that the series has been meaningful for me.
I find joy in a story well-told. The simple pleasures of good story-telling not only brings me personal joy, it also makes my preaching more interesting and more connected. It engages me emotionally in an imagined world which expands my thinking about the world I live in every day.
Second, I love the bonds that the Harry Potter series gives me with my child and with friends of all ages. I read the series as it came out starting in the late 1990s. And in the later books I discovered the joy of having Jim Dale read the books to me. When my daughter began asking for the books, it was another joy to read every page of seven books aloud to her. I had fun practicing my British accent and giving different voices to different characters.
I love that at its heart the series is about not only the everyday struggles of friendship, love and loss, but that the series is also about the epic struggle which humans face between doing what is right and what is easy, as Dumbledore so eloquently sums it up.
Another of the other enduring loves I have for the stories of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom and their friends, families and teachers is the enduring reality that grief and love are two sides of the same coin. This reality is complicated and J.K. Rowling explores it at length and without simple sentimentality. I find this a part of my daily experience, and deeply caught up in my understanding of the Good News that Jesus came preaching and teaching.
Friends, How has Harry helped you?
We want to hear from you! And hope you will also share the question and the 3MMM video with your friends.